Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 18: Shame On You, Governor Chameleon

By Sylvia Gurinsky

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a chameleon is:

1: any of a family (Chamaeleontidae) of chiefly arboreal Old World lizards with prehensile tail, independently movable eyeballs, and unusual ability to change the color of the skin

2 a: a person given to often expedient or facile change in ideas or character
b: one that is subject to quick or frequent change especially in appearance

3: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

OK, I added that last one. But Crist is unquestionably a political chameleon (See 2a), having changed positions to suit his constantly changing political resume.

He took his latest shameful turn yesterday, when he changed his stance on offshore oil drilling. He now supports letting the states decide, after having completely opposed drilling off Florida in his run for governor (and saying so to a number of journalists, including me, in 2006).

Is there anyone who doesn't believe he did this to try to raise his favor on Sen. John McCain's short list for vice president?

Mark Bubriski, the spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, had an excellent comment: "If John McCain jumps off a cliff, will Charlie Crist jump, too?"

They've both jumped. McCain also changed his mind on offshore oil drilling and now favors letting states decide.

In today's Miami Herald:

"Despite the questions, Crist cited recent polls that he says show 'people are much more favorably inclined to this idea so long as it's done safely, it protects our state and if that could help us lower the price of gas at the pump.'"

Wrong, Governor. People favor "going green," and that includes ways to reduce the dependence on gasoline. Offshore oil drilling doesn't go with that pattern.

Recently, McCain has been trying to make overtures towards Sen. Hillary Clinton's female supporters in the Democratic primary. But he, and now Crist, seem to have forgotten an old political rule (With apologies to Nike): Chicks dig the environment.

A lot of evangelical Christians who have voted Republican dig the environment, too. Have McCain and Crist forgotten that, too? Apparently.

The shame extends to the entire Republican Party leadership, including President George W. Bush, who pushed for more offshore oil drilling in a speech today. I applaud any Republicans who are still gutsy enough, after this, to maintain their opposition towards such a move, and still support the environment. It's disgraceful, and embarassing to Florida voters who expected better, that Charlie Crist can no longer be counted among them.

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